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Napoli vs. Inter Milan 2015: Final score 2-2, Partenopei throw away points

Bad defending and worse substitutions doomed Napoli to dropped points.

Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Napoli are still hanging onto their top three spot in Serie A, but they missed an opportunity on Sunday to both solidify their standing and bury Inter Milan for good. They dominated for the opening hour, took a two goal lead, then proceeded to throw it away in a 2-2 draw.

And despite their early dominance, it took until the second half for the Partenopei to get on the board. Gonzalo Higuain had a couple of great chances saved by Samir Handanovic in the opening 20 minutes, then missed a sitter on the half-hour mark off a great cross by Dries Mertens.

Marek Hamsik came to his team's rescue in the 51st minute, getting them on the board with a header off a cross by Henrique. And 13 minutes later, Higuain finally got on the board, and in spectacular fashion. After missing a handful of much easier chances, he beat Handanovic with an unstoppable curling drive from 30 yards, solidifying his team's lead.

But Inter were back in the match not long after that, thanks to some awful clearance attempts by Napoli's defense off a free kick. They had a number of opportunities to hoof the ball away before Fredy Guarin laid off for Rodrigo Palacio to bring Inter back within one.

Rafa Benitez responded by making bizarre substitutions, removing Mertens and Hamsik. He was eventually made to pay for it as Inter gained more of a foothold in the match, leading up to Palacio winning an 86th minute penalty that Mauro Icardi buried to rescue a point.

Napoli: Andujar, Strinic, Koulibaly, Albiol, Henrique (red 86'), Inler, Lopez, Mertens (De Guzman 73'), Hamsik (Gabbiadini 80'), Callejon (Mesto 88'), Higuain

Goals: Hamsik (51'), Higuain (64')

Inter Milan: Handanovic, D'Ambrosio, Juan (Puscas 84'), Ranocchia, Santon, Brozovic (Hernanes 64'), Medel, Guarin, Shaqiri, Palacio, Icardi

Goals: Palacio (72'), Icardi (penalty 86')